If you don’t innovate, you become stale, outdated and irrelevant. The rate of change in our culture is overwhelming and whilst none of us can keep up with it, we can respond to the promptings of our own heart convictions by assessing what we are currently producing and be willing to hit the refresh button. What’s your brand, product or service? Look at it with an outsiders perspective and make changes accordingly. Stay true to principles but be willing to change preferences to engage with what’s current in the arena you are apart of. Go window shopping to discover what others in your industry are doing that’s proving to be attractive to customers. #ironprophet
Matthew 6:6 And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Our culture conditions us to look for outward signs of success, whether that be money, possessions or achievement. But these things are only one measurement of what it might look like for you to be successful. What success might look like to one person could look different to someone else. That’s why we need to come to our own conclusions about it is we are actually aiming for in life. God gives us another definition of success and that is “obedience” to the call he has given us to fulfill. Obedience is not a popular concept in a world of free will and personal autonomy but it’s an eternal concept that bears upon our future reality when we die. Our current choices have consequences both in this life and the next. Whilst people may applaud our external accomplishments the true secret to success is found in what we do away from the eyes of the world around us. No champion boxer was made in the ring but in the gym. No superstar musician was made on the stage but in the studio. From Gods perspective, it’s what we do behind the scenes, where nobody can see us, that defines who we are and what we are rewarded with. Elevate your view of success and find purpose in a relationship with God. Ultimately, we receive what we achieve based on Gods grace and our willingness to do what’s required in the secret place, when nobody is looking.
Type A achievers tend to have high capacity to handle a lot of different tasks and assignments all at the same time. However, whilst the results may be enviable in the short term, the long term consequences are far less glamorous and far more stressful. The person who who commits themselves to focus on fewer things but with greater attention and resolve will execute far more consistently and receive better results long term. It has taken me my entire life to learn this principle. I would struggle with saying ‘NO’ to well meaning people who would ask me to get involved in a task, ministry or event. I didn’t want to disappoint people and I thought I could make a helpful contribution. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. High profile individuals are generally recognized for the one unique thing they do remarkably well, not for the million and one things they are average at. Play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Do less and do it better. You’ll enjoy life more and you’ll produce better results.
Adam and Eve’s first day of life was a Sabbath day of rest, not a work day. Modern life is frantic and we seem to be applying more pressure to an already over crowded schedule. A Sabbath day is not just a good idea, it’s a necessity, if you want to stay healthy and sane. Gods program for life is found in the beginning pages of the bible and when life feels like it’s spiraling out of control, I go back to the beginning and get Gods perspective on what life is about and how it should look. Our bodies, our minds and our wallets need a Sabbath on a regular basis. It’s part of building into your life a sustainable rhythm. Sabbath is when we turn technology off, look after our health and refocus ourselves on God and the most important relationships in our lives. Do you have a sustainable rhythm. God created you to fulfill purpose and enjoy him. You won’t do that if you are constantly moving. Time to refocus your life by building into your schedule a Sabbath day of rest.
In the centre of the compass is God. My relationship with him is the epi-centre of my life. God impacts my identity, character, ministry, finances, relationships, activities and everything in between. God is on the throne of my heart because out of my heart flow the springs of life.
True North on my compass is my Family. My family is always in my focus. Everything I am and do impacts on my family and I want to protect the integrity of my relationships with my closest loved ones. If it doesn’t work first at home, it simply doesn’t work.
East is my Health and Fitness. Apart from time, my health and well being is the most precious commodity I have. If my health goes, everything goes with it. Nutrition, Sleep and Training make up the core ingredients of this pillar.
South is my Ministry. From preaching to writing to studying a masters degree and mentoring others, my working life is super busy but I love the opportunity to be used by God to change someone’s life through my gifts.
East is Finance. This has come into greater focus for me the older I get. What you do with your money can make or break you in more ways than one. I think God cares more about this than many of us care to acknowledge. From savings to giving to investments to expenses, this is a must in my compass.
Does the compass metaphor work for you and if it does what would you include as your north, south, east and west?
Most of us have dreams for our lives, the issue is have we put in the work to see the dream realised. What separates the dreamers from the believers is the believers toil and toil and toil until they see their dreams come to reality. Faith apart from works is dead.
Talent counts for far less than the will to see the process through to completion. I’ve seen too many talented, anointed and gifted people throw away their gift because they were not willing to put in the work required to develop it to its fullest potential.
One of the challenges of ageing is you look back with regret at things you wish you had have seen through to completion. As you mature you learn that if you just had of stuck to your guns and kept turning up, you most probably would’ve realised your dream. However, it’s never too late. No matter your age or situation in life, you can do something about the dream beating in your heart.
It’s called WORK! Humans seem to do almost anything to get out of work and yet when God put Adam in the Garden in Genesis 1-2 he called him to work it and steward God’s creation. God’s called every one of us to a sphere to work in and steward for his glory and the extension of his kingdom. What’s your sphere and what are you doing within it?
Are you merely talking the talk or are you actually doing the work required to flourish in that environment? The world is filled with talkers, what we need to see is a generation of doers rise up and actually put in the hard yards. You can’t expect a harvest if you’ve never sowed any seeds. It’s time to stop talking and start working! Let your work do the talking when it really counts.
I was speaking to Steve Addison last week and he feels that the word ‘vision’ has been over-used and that it doesn’t mean a whole lot anymore. He prefers to use the word ‘Need’ and suggests that when God gets a hold of a leader, he re-defines their character with his character and opens their eyes to a particular need and gives that leader energy and ideas to resolve the need. Not bad at all, I like!
Whether you call it a need, or a big cause or the big idea, I don’t care. What I care about is that you connect your big vision to your daily schedule = Diary! If you don’t, you’ll be like me sometimes and get totally frustrated with feelings of not accomplishing what God put me here on the planet to do. Can you identify with this?
When I have felt frustrated for longer than a few days, I ask myself, why? Invariably, it generally comes down to a disconnection between the great cause God’s put in my heart and my own daily schedule. It’s really simple, if you want to see your vision come to pass and avoid feeling like you are wasting your time, then you need to know what jump starts your heart and you need to actively schedule the right activities in your diary around the big idea.
One of the best bits of advice from all the books on time management I’ve read is simply this, “Organize and Execute around your priorities”.
When I feel frustrated with vision output vs time spent I return to the prayer closet and ask God to speak to me about what he has called me to do and what his vision for my life’s work is. When I do this, he always, always, always says the same things but the whole process distills life into its rawest and simplest form. I’ve found that after 2-4 weeks of living post this encounter, life gets complicated in the minutia and demands and expectations of others. I have a real problem with people approval and I have OCD expectations of myself. This makes for an intense feeling of drivenness that I like when sanctified but I hate when not. We are to love people but worship God, not people. We are to love results but worship God, not results.
Your diary should reflect the vision you are seeking to fulfill. If it doesn’t, your kidding yourself. The big rock activities of your week should be spent on the big rocks of your vision. My vision for Activate Church is:
- Disciple thousands of people
- Transform the community we are apart of
- Plant churches across the globe
- Produce resources to help people grow in their ministry
While there are things I do that don’t fit into anyone of these big rock categories, If I don’t get intentional about aligning my diary with these goals, I get frustrated and my family feels like they’re living with a bear who has a sore head. You get the idea? Make it work.